Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new American Embassy in Rabat, Morocco on Sunday February 26. In her remarks she noted that
our relationship stretches back more than two centuries. Sultan Mohammad III became the first world leader to recognize America’s independence. We entered into a treaty of friendship that has stood the test of time. And in 1820, Morocco presented the United States with a gift, a legation building in Tangier, our very first diplomatic property anywhere in the world. I don’t know how far along we would have made it without Moroccan help, so you’ve been thanked before, but let me thank you again. This is our only national landmark outside our own borders, so the connection between Morocco and the United States is deep and personal.
Now, of course, the way we conduct foreign policy has changed a great deal since those days, and I think it’s fair to say the challenges we face are far more complex, but the opportunities are greater, and the world seems smaller. But that legation building in Tangier stands as a testament to the continuity of our relationship. It has lasted through wars and upheaval. It has remained steadfast in times of crisis. Today, it is a museum and a cultural center that focuses on the rich history between our countries. But what that building in Tangier preserves and symbolizes is the past. What we’re doing here today represents the future. And we are committed to renewing, in a profound way, our commitment in this new chapter of our long relationship.
We have long seen the Legation as a literal and figurative bridge between cultures, over the centuries. Glad that the Secretary of State sees that too.